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Suggested Revision to Definitions of Control and Configure

From: Hansen, Eric <ehansen@ETS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 11:05:27 -0400
Message-ID: <A12997152E36D31187A4000077893CFB036FC268@rosnt46.ets.org>
To: "'w3c-wai-ua@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
Date: 15 May 2000, 18:00 hrs
To: UA List
From: Eric Hansen
Re: Suggested Revision to Definitions of Control and Configure

I have been becoming uneasy with the document's distinction between
"control" and "configure" and would like to propose a revision.

Al Gilman's comment helped crystallize some of my thinking. He noted:

<Al's Comment>
3.  Question using control/configure distinction in setting minimums, here.

The forced distinction between "control" (i.e. adjustment through the UI
that affect the current behavior) vs. "configure" (adjustments that may have
to be done out of line with a use session, but persist) is unfortunate.

The strongest user requirement is that they be able to adjust the UA
behavior somehow.  Whether it fits into the narrower categories of "control"
or "configure" as discussed above is secondary or tertiary, relative to this
requirement.

In the most usable implementation, and this is also quite common today,
there is not a lot of difference between the user interface to
current-session and next-session adjustments, aside from a prompt as to
whether the user intends the adjustment to be temporary/local or
global/permanent.
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/2000AprJun/0369.html)
</Al's Comment>

Instead of viewing "control" and "configure" as very distinct concepts, I
would like to propose a softer distinction wherein to "configure" is to
"control", but with greater emphasis on the persistence of the setting. 

I am inclined to think that, generally speaking, we want the checkpoints
(especially the _minimum_ requirements!) to focus on control. We can
encourage configurability and the use of profiles, etc., but control is the
fundamental issue.

I am hoping that with this revised definition, some of the other decisions
that we are struggling with will resolve more easily.

Following is may fix to the definitions of "configure" and "control".

I invite comment.

<OLD>
Configure 

In the context of this document, to configure means to choose, from a set of
options, preferences for interface layout, user agent behavior, rendering
style, and other parameters required by this document. This may be done
through the user agent's user interface, through profiles, style sheets, by
scripts, etc. Users should be able to save their configurations across user
agent sessions (e.g., in a profile). The range of available configurations
(e.g., colors, font families and sizes, sound quality, etc.) may depend on
system or hardware limitations. 
</OLD>

<OLD>
Control 

In this document, the noun "control" means "user interface component" or
"form component". 
</OLD>

<NEW>
Control (and Configuration)

The term "control" is used in two major contexts in this document. 
(1) governance, such as a user may exercise over interface layout, user
agent behavior, rendering style, and other parameters required by this
document. Such control may be exercised through the user agent's user
interface, through profiles, style sheets, by scripts, etc. The degree and
kind of control that is possible (e.g., colors, font families and sizes,
sound quality, etc.) may depend on system or hardware limitations. Control
that persists, especially across user sessions, may be termed
<bold>configuration</bold>. A users may be able to save configurations
across user agent settings in a <bold>profile</bold>.
</NEW>
<END OF MEMO>
===========================
Eric G. Hansen, Ph.D.
Development Scientist
Educational Testing Service
ETS 12-R
Princeton, NJ 08541
609-734-5615 (Voice)
E-mail: ehansen@ets.org
(W) 609-734-5615 (Voice)
FAX 609-734-1090
Received on Thursday, 18 May 2000 11:05:34 GMT

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